The Niftiest (and Naughtiest) Behind-the-Scenes Burlesque Facts


It’s been a while since Burlesque came out in 2010, but it doesn’t really feel that long. That’s mostly because every scene of this over-the-top film is indelibly etched in our memories. All we have to do is close our eyes and we can perfectly envision every single one of Cher’s moves and lyrics.

Because we’ve watched this movie constantly for all these years, we’ve learned quite a bit about it. Like a good dancer, we’re all about giving back to the community, so we decided to share everything we know about this fun film. Keep reading to learn the niftiest (and naughtiest) behind-the-scenes facts about Burlesque!

Cher’s bittersweet reason for taking the role

With respect to other stars like Christina Aguilera, we can’t think about Burlesque without thinking about Cher. She steals every scene she’s in like the divine diva she is. Because of that, you might have wondered why such a major star decided to take a supporting role in this movie.

It turns out her motivation was bittersweet. According to ET Online, Cher saw this as her last chance to sing on film. “I wanted to sing, I’ve never been able to sing in a movie. I was offered Mamma Mia with Meryl Streep but I was on the road so I couldn’t do it,” she said. Regarding Burlesque, she continued, “I thought this may be the last time I will be able to sing in a film and I just wanted to do it.”

Speaking as fans, we’re glad Cher decided to go for it!

The mystery of Cher’s wardrobe revealed

Aside from the singing and dancing (both of which are excellent), the most noticeable thing about Burlesque is the wardrobe. Everybody has fantastic clothes, and some are more themed than others. For example, whenever Cher is onscreen, she is rocking another bit of black and beautiful boutique clothing.

Why was Cher always dressed so dark? As it turns out, the film’s costume designer Michael Kaplan made black the assigned color for Cher’s clothes. The legendary performer had no problem rocking dark clothing, but she quickly reminded Kaplan that Cher was the final word on fashion. Kaplan, as reported by Gulf News, later said “Cher always put her imprint on everything she was wearing. I’d put clothes in her room every day and she’d walk out combining them in a different way than I thought she would.”

The movie’s surprising origin

There’s a reason why Burlesque feels so authentic to the entire culture it represents. The film is actually based on some of the burlesque escapades at the Sunset Strip’s Viper Room. There, director Steven Antin’s sister once created a burlesque show that began attracting more and more celebrity attention.

As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Burlesque is based on some fascinating true stories. “My sister was getting all these celebs to appear as guest performers,” Antin said. “I got some cameras and shot the show over a few nights and edited together a little movie. That was the genesis.”

Now, raise your hand with us if you’d kill to see those original celeb recordings!

The original ending was insanely different

If you’re a fan of Burlesque, you know how delightfully simple the film’s ending is. We went in expecting the typical romantic movie grand gestures and were surprised to discover a more down-to-earth denouement. However, the movie was originally going to have a much more over-the-top conclusion.

That original ending had Cam Gigandet’s character getting into a taxi before Christina Aguilera’s character comes down a fire escape and they passionately reunite. If that sounds familiar, it’s because this ending is a rip-off of Pretty Woman. Test audiences felt the same, which is why this derivative ending was replaced with something more unique.

Queen Latifah was almost in the movie

We’ve said before that we can hardly imagine Burlesque without Cher. If she wasn’t in the film, who in the world could be a fitting replacement? The filmmakers know the answer. As it is, Queen Latifah nearly got the Tess role instead of Cher!

The queen herself was considered for the role, as was Michelle Pfeiffer. However, the director was determined to get Cher, and he went the extra mile to prove it. He camped outside her Zootopia soundstage for hours just so he could introduce himself. The rest is cinematic history!

How Juno ties to Burlesque

At first glance, you might not notice any major connections between Burlesque and the quirky teen comedy Juno. Beneath the surface, there’s a major shared quality. As it turns out, the same writer was behind both films!

Juno was written by Diablo Cody, but she isn’t credited for Burlesque. Secretly, though, Cody helped to tweak the script, loaning some of her trademark wit to scene after scene. That wit elevates the film and makes it one that fans will never forget.

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